Harry Potter Stuff.
This is for when I'm having Post-Potter Depression. The picture beside the title? See that? Pretend I'm Snape and Lily is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I do that sometimes.
"I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."
Chapter 33- The Prince's Tale I
He fell headlong into sunlight, and his feet found warm ground. When he straightened up, he saw that he was in a nearly deserted playground. A single huge chimney dominated the distant skyline. Two girls were swinging backward and forward, and a skinny boy was watching them from behind a clump of bushes. His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smocklike shirt.
Harry moved closer to the boy. Snape looked no more than nine or ten years old, sallow, small, stringy. There was undisguised greed in his thin face as he watched the younger of the two girls swinging higher and higher than her sister.
â€œLily, donâ€™t do it!â€ shrieked the elder of the two.
But the girl had let go of the swing at the very height of its arc and flown into the air, quite literally flown, launched herself skyward with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared like a trapeze artist through the air, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.
â€œMummy told you not to!â€
Petunia stopped her swing by dragging the heels of her sandals on the ground, making a crunching, grinding sound, then leapt up, hands on hips.
â€œMummy said you werenâ€™t allowed, Lily!â€
â€œBut Iâ€™m fine,â€ said Lily, still giggling. â€œTuney, look at this. Watch what I can do.â€
Petunia glanced around. The playground was deserted apart from themselves and, though the girls did not know it, Snape. Lily had picked up a fallen flower from the bush behind which Snape lurked. Petunia advanced, evidently torn between curiosity and disapproval. Lily waited until Petunia was near enough to have a clear view, then held out her palm. The flower sat there, opening and closing its petals, like some bizarre, many-lipped oyster.
â€œStop it!â€ shrieked Petunia.
â€œItâ€™s not hurting you,â€ said Lily, but she closed her hand on the blossom and threw it back to the ground.
â€œItâ€™s not right,â€ said Petunia, but her eyes had followed the flowerâ€™s flight to the ground and lingered upon it. â€œHow do you do it?â€ she added, and there was definite longing in her voice.
â€œItâ€™s obvious, isnâ€™t it?â€ Snape could no longer contain himself, but had jumped out from behind the bushes. Petunia shrieked and ran backward toward the swings, but Lily, though clearly startled, remained where she was. Snape seemed to regret his appearance. A dull flush of color mounted the sallow cheeks as he looked at Lily.
â€œWhatâ€™s obvious?â€ asked Lily.
Snape had an air of nervous excitement. With a glance at the distant Petunia, now hovering beside the swings, he lowered his voice and said, â€œI know what you are.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œYouâ€™reâ€¦youâ€™re a witch,â€ whispered Snape.
She looked affronted.
â€œThatâ€™s not a very nice thing to say to somebody!â€
She turned, nose in the air, and marched off toward her sister.
â€œNo!â€ said Snape. He was highly colored now, and Harry wondered why he did not take off the ridiculously large coat, unless it was because he did not want to reveal the smock beneath it. He flapped after the girls, looking ludicrously batlike, like his older self.
The sisters considered him, united in disapproval, both holding on to one of the swing poles, as though it was the safe place in tag.
â€œYou are,â€ said Snape to Lily. â€œYou are a witch. Iâ€™ve been watching you for a while. But thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that. My mumâ€™s one, and Iâ€™m a wizard.â€
Petuniaâ€™s laugh was like cold water.
â€œWizard!â€ she shrieked, her courage returned now that she had recovered from the shock of his unexpected appearance. â€œI know who you are. Youâ€™re that Snape boy! They live down Spinnerâ€™s End by the river,â€ she told Lily, and it was evident from her tone that she considered the address a poor recommendation. â€œWhy have you been spying on us?â€
â€œHavenâ€™t been spying,â€ said Snape, hot and uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight. â€œWouldnâ€™t spy on you, anyway,â€ he added spitefully, â€œyouâ€™re a Muggle.â€
Though Petunia evidently did not understand the word, she could hardly mistake the tone.
â€œLily, come on, weâ€™re leaving!â€ she said shrilly. Lily obeyed her sister at once, glaring at Snape as she left. He stood watching them as they marched through the playground gate, and Harry, the only one left to observe him, recognized Snapeâ€™s bitter disappointment, and understood that Snape had been planning this moment for a while, and that it had all gone wrongâ€¦
The scene dissolved, and before Harry knew it, re-formed around him. He was now in a small thicket of trees. He could see a sunlit river glittering through their trunks. The shadows cast by the trees made a basin of cool green shade. Two children sat facing each other, cross-legged on the ground. Snape had removed his coat now; his odd smock looked less pecular in the half light.
â€œâ€¦and the Ministry can punish you if you do magic outside school, you get letters.â€
â€œBut I have done magic outside school!â€
â€œWeâ€™re all right. We havenâ€™t got wands yet. They let you off when youâ€™re a kid and you canâ€™t help it. But once youâ€™re eleven,â€ he nodded importantly, â€œand they start training you, then youâ€™ve got to go careful.â€
There was a little silence. Lily had picked up a fallen twig and twirled it in the air, and Harry knew that she was imagining sparks trailing from it. Then she dropped the twig, leaned in toward the boy, and said, â€œIt is real, isnâ€™t it? Itâ€™s not a joke? Petunia says youâ€™re lying to me. Petunia says there isnâ€™t a Hogwarts. It is real, isnâ€™t it?â€
â€œItâ€™s real for us,â€ said Snape. â€œNot for her. But weâ€™ll get the letter, you and me.â€
â€œReally?â€ whispered Lily.
â€œDefinitely,â€ said Snape, and even with his poorly cut hair and his odd clothes, he struck an oddly impressive figure sprawled in front of her, brimful of confidence in his destiny.
â€œAnd will it really come by owl?â€ Lily whispered.
â€œNormally,â€ said Snape. â€œBut youâ€™re Muggle-born, so someone from the school will have to come and explain to your parents.â€
â€œDoes it make a difference, being Muggle-born?â€
Snape hesitated. His black eyes, eager in the greenish gloom, moved over the pale face, the dark red hair.
â€œNo,â€ he said. â€œIt doesnâ€™t make any difference.â€
â€œGood,â€ said Lily, relaxing. It was clear that she had been worrying.
â€œYouâ€™ve got loads of magic,â€ said Snape. â€œI saw that. All the time I was watching youâ€¦â€
His voice trailed away; she was not listening, but had stretched out on the leafy ground and was looking up at the canopy of leaves overhead. He watched her as greedily as he had watched her in the playground.
â€œHow are things at your house?â€ Lily asked.
A little crease appeared between his eyes.
â€œFine,â€ he said.
â€œTheyâ€™re not arguing anymore?â€
â€œOh yes, theyâ€™re arguing,â€ said Snape. He picked up a fistful of leaves and began tearing them apart, apparently unaware of what he was doing. â€œBut it wonâ€™t be that long and Iâ€™ll be gone.â€
â€œDoesnâ€™t your dad like magic?â€
â€œHe doesnâ€™t like anything, much,â€ said Snape.
A little smile twisted Snapeâ€™s mouth when she said his name.
â€œTell me about the dementors again.â€
â€œWhat dâ€™you want to know about them for?â€
â€œIf I use magic outside school â€“ â€
â€œThey wouldnâ€™t give you to the dementors for that! Dementors are for people who do really bad stuff. They guard the wizard prison, Azkaban. Youâ€™re not going to end up in Azkaban, youâ€™re too â€“ â€
He turned red again and shredded more leaves. Then a small rustling noise behind Harry made him turn: Petunia, hiding behind a tree, had lost her footing.
â€œTuney!â€ said Lily, surprise and welcome in her voice, but Snape had jumped to his feet.
â€œWhoâ€™s spying now?â€ he shouted. â€œWhat dâ€™you want?â€
Petunia was breathless, alarmed at being caught. Harry could see her struggling for something hurtful to say.
â€œWhat is that youâ€™re wearing, anyway?â€ she said, pointing at Snapeâ€™s chest. â€œYour mumâ€™s blouse?â€
There was a crack. A branch over Petuniaâ€™s head had fallen. Lily screamed. The branch caught Petunia on the shoulder, and she staggered backward and burst into tears.
But Petunia was running away. Lily rounded on Snape.
â€œDid you make that happen?â€
â€œNo.â€ He looked both defiant and scared.
â€œYou did!â€ She was backing away from him. â€œYou did! You hurt her!â€
â€œNo â€“ no, I didnâ€™t!â€
But the lie did not convince Lily. After one last burning look, she ran from the little thicket, off after her sister, and Snape looked miserable and confusedâ€¦
And the scene re-formed. Harry looked around. He was on platform nine and three quarters, and Snape stood beside him, slightly hunched, next to a thin, sallow-faced, sour-looking woman who greatly resembled him. Snape was staring at a family of four a short distance away. The two girls stood a little apart from their parents. Lily seemed to be pleading with her sister. Harry moved closer to listen.
â€œâ€¦Iâ€™m sorry, Tuney, Iâ€™m sorry! Listen â€“ â€ She caught her sisterâ€™s hand and held tight to it, even though Petunia tried to pull it away. â€œMaybe once Iâ€™m there â€“ no, listen, Tuney! Maybe once Iâ€™m there, Iâ€™ll be able to go to Professor Dumbledore and persuade him to change his mind!â€
â€œI donâ€™t â€“ want â€“ to â€“ go!â€ said Petunia, and she dragged her hand back out of her sisterâ€™s grasp. â€œYou think I want to go to some stupid castle and learn to be a â€“ aâ€¦â€
Her pale eyes roved over the platform, over the cats mewling in their ownersâ€™ arms, over the owls, fluttering and hooting at each other in cages, over the students, some already in their long black robes, loading trunks onto the scarlet steam engine or else greeting one another with glad cries after a summer apart.
â€œ â€“ you think I want to be a â€“ a freak?â€
Lilyâ€™s eyes filled with tears as Petunia succeeded in tugging her hand away.
â€œIâ€™m not a freak,â€ said Lily. â€œThatâ€™s a horrible thing to say.â€
â€œThatâ€™s where youâ€™re going,â€ said Petunia with relish. â€œA special school for freaks. You and that Snape boyâ€¦weirdos, thatâ€™s what you two are. Itâ€™s good youâ€™re being separated from normal people. Itâ€™s for our safety.â€
Lily glanced toward her parents, who were looking around the platform with an air of wholehearted enjoyment, drinking in the scene. Then she looked back at her sister, and her voice was low and fierce.
â€œYou didnâ€™t think it was such a freakâ€™s school when you wrote to the headmaster and begged him to take you.â€
Petunia turned scarlet.
â€œBeg? I didnâ€™t beg!â€
â€œI saw his reply. It was very kind.â€
â€œYou shouldnâ€™t have read â€“ â€ whispered Petunia, â€œthat was my private â€“ how could you â€“ ?â€
Lily gave herself away by half-glancing toward where Snape stood nearby. Petunia gasped.
â€œThat boy found it! You and that boy have been sneaking in my room!â€
â€œNo â€“ not sneaking â€“ â€ Now Lily was on the defensive. â€œSeverus saw the envelope, and he couldnâ€™t believe a Muggle could have contacted Hogwarts, thatâ€™s all! He says there must be wizards working undercover in the postal service who take care of â€“ â€
â€œApparently wizards poke their noses in everywhere!â€ said Petunia, now as pale as she had been flushed. â€œFreak!â€ she spat at her sister, and she flounced off to where her parents stoodâ€¦
The scene dissolved again. Snape was hurrying along the corridor of the Hogwarts Express as it clattered through the countryside. He had already changed into his school robes, had perhaps taken the first opportunity to take off his dreadful Muggle clothes. At last he stopped, outside a compartment in which a group of rowdy boys were
talking. Hunched in a corner seat beside the window was Lily, her face pressed against the windowpane.
Snape slid open the compartment door and sat down opposite Lily. She glanced at him and then looked back out of the window. She had been crying.
â€œI donâ€™t want to talk to you,â€ she said in a constricted voice.
â€œTuney h-hates me. Because we saw that letter from Dumbledore.â€
She threw him a look of deep dislike.
â€œSo sheâ€™s my sister!â€
â€œSheâ€™s only a â€“ â€ He caught himself quickly; Lily, too busy trying to wipe her eyes without being noticed, did not hear him.
â€œBut weâ€™re going!â€ he said, unable to suppress the exhilaration in his voice. â€œThis is it! Weâ€™re off to Hogwarts!â€
She nodded, mopping her eyes, but in spite of herself, she half smiled.
â€œYouâ€™d better be in Slytherin,â€ said Snape, encouraged that she had brightened a little.
One of the boys sharing the compartment, who had shown no interest at all in Lily or Snape until that point, looked around at the word, and Harry, whose attention had been focused entirely on the two beside the window, saw his father: slight, black-haired like Snape, but with that indefinable air of having been well-cared-for, even adored, that Snape so conspicuously lacked.
â€œWho wants to be in Slytherin? I think Iâ€™d leave, wouldnâ€™t you?â€ James asked the boy lounging on the seats opposite him, and with a jolt, Harry realized that it was Sirius. Sirius did not smile.
â€œMy whole family have been in Slytherin,â€ he said.
â€œBlimey,â€ said James, â€œand I thought you seemed all right!â€
â€œMaybe Iâ€™ll break the tradition. Where are you heading, if youâ€™ve got the choice?â€
James lifted an invisible sword.
â€œâ€˜Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!â€™ Like my dad.â€
Snape made a small, disparaging noise. James turned on him.
â€œGot a problem with that?â€
â€œNo,â€ said Snape, though his slight sneer said otherwise. â€œIf youâ€™d rather be brawny than brainy â€“ â€
â€œWhereâ€™re you hoping to go, seeing as youâ€™re neither?â€ interjected Sirius.
James roared with laughter. Lily sat up, rather flushed, and looked from James to Sirius in dislike.
â€œCome on, Severus, letâ€™s find another compartment.â€
James and Sirius imitated her lofty voice; James tried to trip Snape as he passed.
â€œSee ya, Snivellus!â€ a voice called, as the compartment door slammedâ€¦
And the scene dissolved once moreâ€¦
Harry was standing right behind Snape as they faced the candlelit House tables, lined with rapt faces. Then Professor McGonagall said, â€œEvans, Lily!â€
He watched his mother walk forward on trembling legs and sit down upon the rickety stool. Professor McGonagall dropped the Sorting Hat onto her head, and barely a second after it had touched the dark red hair, the hat cried, â€œGryffindor!â€
Harry heard Snape let out a tiny groan. Lily took off the hat, handed it back to Professor McGonagall, then hurried toward the cheering Gryffindors, but as she went she glanced back at Snape, and there was a sad little smile on her face. Harry saw Sirius move up the bench to make room for her. She took one look at him, seemed to recognize him from the train, folded her arms, and firmly turned her back on him.
The roll call continued. Harry watched Lupin, Pettigrew, and his father join Lily and Sirius at the Gryffindor table. At last, when only a dozen students remained to be sorted, Professor McGonagall called Snape.
Harry walked with him to the stool, watched him place the hat upon his head. â€œSlytherin!â€ cried the Sorting Hat.
And Severus Snape moved off to the other side of the Hall, away from Lily, to where the Slytherins were cheering him, to where Lucius Malfoy, a prefect badge gleaming upon his chest, patted Snape on the back as he sat down beside himâ€¦
And the scene changedâ€¦
Lily and Snape were walking across the castle courtyard, evidently arguing. Harry hurried to catch up with them, to listen in. As he reached them, he realized how much taller they both were. A few years seemed to have passed since their Sorting.
â€œâ€¦thought we were supposed to be friends?â€ Snape was saying, â€œBest friends?â€
â€œWe are, Sev, but I donâ€™t like some of the people youâ€™re hanging round with! Iâ€™m sorry, but I detest Avery and Mulciber! Mulciber! What do you see in him, Sev, heâ€™s creepy! Dâ€™you know what he tried to do to Mary Macdonald the other day?â€
Lily had reached a pillar and leaned against it, looking up into the thin, sallow face.
â€œThat was nothing,â€ said Snape. â€œIt was a laugh, thatâ€™s all â€“ â€
â€œIt was Dark Magic, and if you think thatâ€™s funny â€“ â€
â€œWhat about the stuff Potter and his mates get up to?â€ demanded Snape. His color rose again as he said it, unable, it seemed, to hold in his resentment.
â€œWhatâ€™s Potter got to do with anything?â€ said Lily.
â€œThey sneak out at night. Thereâ€™s something weird about that Lupin. Where does he keep going?â€
â€œHeâ€™s ill,â€ said Lily. â€œThey say heâ€™s ill â€“ â€
â€œEvery month at the full moon?â€ said Snape.
â€œI know your theory,â€ said Lily, and she sounded cold. â€œWhy are you so obsessed with them anyway? Why do you care what theyâ€™re doing at night?â€
â€œIâ€™m just trying to show you theyâ€™re not as wonderful as everyone seems to think they are.â€
The intensity of his gaze made her blush.
â€œThey donâ€™t use Dark Magic, though.â€ She dropped her voice. â€œAnd youâ€™re being really ungrateful. I heard what happened the other night. You went sneaking down that tunnel by the Whomping Willow, and James Potter saved you from whateverâ€™s down there â€“ â€
Snapeâ€™s whole face contorted and he spluttered, â€œSaved? Saved? You think he was playing the hero? He was saving his neck and his friendsâ€™ too! Youâ€™re not going to â€“ I wonâ€™t let you â€“ â€
â€œLet me? Let me?â€
Lilyâ€™s bright green eyes were slits. Snape backtracked at once.
â€œI didnâ€™t m ean â€“ I just donâ€™t want to see you made a fool of â€“ He fancies you, James Potter fancies you!â€ The words seemed wrenched from him against his will. â€œAnd heâ€™s notâ€¦everyone thinksâ€¦big Quidditch hero â€“ â€ Snapeâ€™s bitterness and dislike were rendering him incoherent, and Lilyâ€™s eyebrows were traveling farther and farther up her forehead.
â€œI know James Potterâ€™s an arrogant toerag,â€ she said, cutting across Snape. â€œI donâ€™t need you to tell me that. But Mulciberâ€™s and Averyâ€™s idea of humor is just evil. Evil, Sev. I donâ€™t understand how you can be friends with them.â€
Harry doubted that Snape had even heard her strictures on Mulciber and Avery. The moment she had insulted James Potter, his whole body had relaxed, and as they walked away there was a new spring in Snapeâ€™s stepâ€¦
And the scene dissolvedâ€¦
Harry watched again as Snape left the Great Hall after sitting his O.W.L. in Defense Against the Dark Arts, watched as he wandered away from the castle and strayed inadvertently close to the place beneath the beech tree where James, Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew sat together. But Harry kept his distance this time, because he knew what happened after James had hoisted Severus into the air and taunted him; he knew what had been done and said, and it gave him no pleasure to hear it againâ€¦ He watched as Lily joined the group and went to Snapeâ€™s defense. Distantly he heard Snape shout at her in his humiliation and his fury, the unforgivable word: â€œMudblood.â€
The scene changedâ€¦
â€œIâ€™m not interested.â€
â€œSave your breathâ€
It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.
â€œI only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here.â€
â€œI was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just â€“ â€
â€œSlipped out?â€ There was no pity in Lilyâ€™s voice. â€œItâ€™s too late. Iâ€™ve made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends â€“ you see, you donâ€™t even deny it! You donâ€™t even deny thatâ€™s what youâ€™re all aiming to be! You canâ€™t wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?â€
He opened his mouth, but closed it without speaking.
â€œI canâ€™t pretend anymore. Youâ€™ve chosen your way, Iâ€™ve chosen mine.â€
â€œNo â€“ listen, I didnâ€™t mean â€“ â€
â€œ â€“ to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?â€
He struggled on the verge of speech, but with a contemptuous look she turned and climbed back through the portrait holeâ€¦
The corridor dissolved, and the scene took a little longer to reform: Harry seemed to fly through shifting shapes and colors until his surroundings solidified again and he stood on a hilltop, forlorn and cold in the darkness, the wind whistling through the branches of a few leafless trees. The adult Snape was panting, turning on the spot, his wand gripped tightly in his hand, waiting for something or for someoneâ€¦ His fear infected Harry too, even though he knew that he could not be harmed, and he looked over his shoulder, wondering what it was that Snape was waiting for â€“
Then a blinding, jagged jet of white light flew through the air. Harry thought of lightning, but Snape had dropped to his knees and his wand had flown out of his hand.
â€œDonâ€™t kill me!â€
â€œThat was not my intention.â€
Any sound of Dumbledore Apparating had been drowned by the sound of the wind in the branches. He stood before Snape with his robes whipping around him, and his face was illuminated from below in the light cast by his wand.
â€œWell, Severus? What message does Lord Voldemort have for me?â€
â€œNo â€“ no message â€“ Iâ€™m here on my own account!â€
Snape was wringing his hands. He looked a little mad, with his straggling black hair flying around him.
â€œI â€“ I come with a warning â€“ no, a request â€“ please â€“ â€
Dumbledore flicked his wand. Though leaves and branches still flew through the night air around them, silence fell on the spot where he and Snape faced each other.
â€œWhat request could a Death Eater make of me?â€
â€œThe â€“ the prophecyâ€¦the predictionâ€¦Trelawneyâ€¦â€
â€œAh, yes,â€ said Dumbledore. â€œHow much did you relay to Lord Voldemort?â€
â€œEverything â€“ everything I heard!â€ said Snape. â€œThat is why â€“ it is for that reason â€“ he thinks it means Lily Evans!â€
â€œThe prophecy did not refer to a woman,â€ said Dumbledore. â€œIt spoke of a boy born at the end of July â€“ â€
â€œYou know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down â€“ kill them all â€“ â€
â€œIf she means so much to you,â€ said Dumbledore, â€œsurely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?â€
â€œI have â€“ I have asked him â€“ â€
â€œYou disgust me,â€ said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little, â€œYou do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?â€
Snape said nothing, but merely looked up at Dumbledore.
â€œHide them all, then,â€ he croaked. â€œKeep her â€“ them â€“ safe. Please.â€
â€œAnd what will you give me in return, Severus?â€
â€œIn â€“ in return?â€ Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, â€œAnything.â€
The hilltop faded, and Harry stood in Dumbledoreâ€™s office, and something was making a terrible sound, like a wounded animal. Snape was slumped forward in a chair and Dumbledore was standing over him, looking grim. After a moment or two, Snape raised his face, and he looked like a man who had lived a hundred years of misery since leaving the wild hilltop.
â€œI thoughtâ€¦you were goingâ€¦to keep herâ€¦safeâ€¦â€
â€œShe and James put their faith in the wrong person,â€ said Dumbledore. â€œRather like you, Severus. Werenâ€™t you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?â€
Snapeâ€™s breathing was shallow.
â€œHer boy survives,â€ said Dumbledore.
With a tiny jerk of the head, Snape seemed to flick off an irksome fly.
â€œHer son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evansâ€™s eyes, I am sure?â€
â€œDONâ€™T!â€ bellowed Snape. â€œGoneâ€¦deadâ€¦â€
â€œIs this remorse, Severus?â€
â€œI wishâ€¦I wish I were deadâ€¦â€
â€œAnd what use would that be to anyone?â€ said Dumbledore coldly. â€œIf you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.â€